The Moussaieff Collection, London

<~?~acm>Solomon’s seal: One side of this cylindrical seal, used to stamp official documents, contains three Hebrew letters, shin, lamed and mem, spelling “Shlomo,” the Hebrew name for Solomon. In the Bible, Solomon is spelled with a final letter, heh, though often in Hebrew such vowelless letters are left off. On the seal’s other side, a royal figure bearing a scepter is depicted; the figure’s skirt-like garment is reminiscent of the ephod worn by King David (2 Samuel 6:14). Both sides of the seal show a winged design, indicating Phoenician or Egyptian influence.

Collector Shlomo Moussaieff believes the seal dates to the time of King Solomon (c. 965–928 B.C.E.) and may have belonged to an official in Solomon’s court. If that dating is correct, and if the seal is genuine, it would be the only tenth-century B.C.E. Israelite seal that has turned up. A few seals have been found that might date to the end of the ninth century B.C.E., but the dating of these seals is extremely uncertain. There are numerous eighth-century seals similar in style to the Moussaieff seal—but they come two hundred years after Solomon.